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House Armed Services Readiness Chair Garamendi’s Statement on Afghanistan

August 17, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness who has served on the House Armed Services Committee since 2009, released the following statement on the situation in Afghanistan:

“President Biden has a consummate understanding of the history of Afghanistan. He considered every fact and contingency and made the correct decision to drawdown the U.S. presence in the region. He was not willing to pass this war on to a fifth president,” Garamendi said.

“When President Biden took office, there was a ceasefire agreement in place negotiated by President Trump and the Taliban. President Trump agreed to a full withdrawal of U.S. forces by May 1. President Biden extended this deadline until September. If he had not made this decision, there would be no ceasefire. No agreement protecting our forces. No status quo of stability without casualties,” Garamendi continued.

“Those who were silent while the previous administration pursued a full withdrawal and are now castigating the current administration are coated in hypocrisy. President Biden was faced with the choice of following through on that agreement or redoubling our efforts to fight the Taliban. The latter would put thousands of additional American troops in harm’s way and thrust our nation into the third decade of conflict in Afghanistan,” Garamendi continued.

“The President made the right decision. While the events that transpired over the last 72 hours happened more precipitously than expected, they have confirmed that the decision to drawdown was the right one. Afghanistan’s political leadership fled the country, and its military collapsed without even attempting to fight in many cases. The Afghanistan government wasn’t overthrown—it simply disappeared. President Biden was clear that we would not stay and force American soldiers to nation-build and fight indefinitely,” Garamendi continued.

“This situation is incredibly difficult for American veterans, diplomats, and everyone who has spent the last two decades in Afghanistan. Those who risked their lives and paid the ultimate cost for their service did so with dignity and honor while carrying out the policies and missions of four administrations. We owe them a debt of gratitude and must recognize the work they’ve done to abate the threat of terrorism to our homeland. We must always honor their service and sacrifice,” Garamendi continued.

“Today, our focus is on evacuating U.S. citizens and Afghan allies from the region as safely and as quickly as possible. President Biden is sending additional troops to facilitate the departure of Americans and allied civilian personnel to safety. Evacuation flights are moving steadily, and the work is being done to bring people to safety. My staff and I are also encouraging any constituent who has family in the region that needs to be brought to safety to contact my office at CA03.casework@mail.house.gov. We are standing by and ready to assist,” Garamendi continued.

“I have served on the House Armed Services Committee for 11 years. I have received countless briefings on the situation in Afghanistan, led delegations to the region, and studied the conflict and history at length. I can say, unequivocally, that President Biden has made the right decision to end a war that should have concluded years ago and not pass this conflict along to a fifth president. I appreciate his leadership and am firm in my commitment to help every U.S. citizen and Afghan ally return to safety in the coming days,” Garamendi concluded.